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US Constitution on the right to free speech | Politics homework help


The First Amendment to the US Constitution protects the right to free speech; however, the freedom to speak has limits. Language that is intended to intimidate or to incite physical harm is not protected by the amendment, yet this distinction leaves room for a lot of gray area. In our present moment debates over free speech and cancel culture have surfaced in the news media, entertainment industry, and university spaces.

Your task

Write a 3–5-page argumentative essay that takes a position on the topic of free speech. Your paper must cite at least two of the authors we have studied as a class.

Suggested Topics

• Argue free speech is/is not under attack.
• Argue what has caused free speech to become threatened.
• Argue about the effectiveness of book banning and cancel culture.
• Argue about the ethics of book banning or cancel culture.
• Argue whether there should be a limit to free speech.
• Argue who is responsible for enforcing limits on free speech.


• The introduction must contain a hook, background information and a thesis.
• Establish the conversation you are entering using “they say” strategies.
• Include a clear thesis statement using “I say” strategies.
• Develop your essay using facts, examples, anecdotes, expert opinion, statistics, or a combination of these strategies.
• The essay must have a logical organization/structure and make use of transitions to show relationships between ideas.
• The essay must be 3-5 pages long and submitted in MLA format.
• The essay must be free of grammar and spelling errors.
• The essay must include in-text citations and/or signal phrases and a work cited page.

The article “The Left Needs Free Speech” was published in the Dissent Magazines summer issue (Summer, 2021). In this article, the writer, Katha Pollitt, argues the importance of upholding free speech and the left’s mistake by advocating for censorship. Pollitt supports her argument by writing “Deplatforming a speaker who has been chosen through the accepted university channels or attacking Powell’s Books for selling Andy Ngô’s Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, means you lose the high ground. Now you look just like your enemies” (Pollitt, 2021) She writes this to explain how when the left bans a book or shuts down a speaker they’re actually limiting the people’s voices who propose counter ideas just like how the right does. The purpose of the article is to argue the importance of upholding free speech as a whole even from the left. Pollitt’s solution to the problem is for the left to stop campaigning for the removal of books and the de-platforming of speakers who contradict their ideas. This in return would help create an environment that has freedom of speech. The audience for the article are individuals concerned with issues surrounding free speech and censorship.

Pollitt, Katha, et al. “The Left Needs Free Speech.” Dissent Magazine, 12 July 2021, www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the-left-needs-free-speech/.

In the article “The Myth of the Free Speech Crisis” published in the Guardians online Newspaper (Sept 19,2019), Nesrine Malik argues that the idea of freedom of speech being in danger is false but is used by people to normalize hate speech and attack minority voices who are opposed to it. Malik uses statistics to support her argument. She states, “A 2017 Pew Research Center survey revealed that a “wide cross-section” of Americans experience online abuse, but that the majority was directed towards minorities, with a quarter of black Americans saying they have been attacked online due to race or ethnicity…’’ (Malik, 2019) Maliks purpose is to show how freedom of speech is not being attacked but is used to harbor an abusive environment online. Her solution is to combat hate speech more forcefully and possibly ban those that are harmful to the public good. The authors intended audience are individuals debating online about free speech and policymakers.


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